Epigenetic Profiling Identifies LIF as a Super-enhancer-Controlled Regulator of Stem Cell-like Properties in Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is an aggressive malignancy with poor prognosis. Super-enhancers (SE) have been highlighted as critical oncogenic elements required for maintaining the cancer cell characteristics. However, the regulatory role of SEs in osteosarcoma properties has not yet been elucidated. In the current study, we found that osteosarcoma cells and clinical specimens shared a significant fraction of SEs. Moreover, leukemia-inhibitory factor (LIF) was identified as an essential factor under the control of osteosarcoma-specific SE. The expression of LIF was positively correlated with the stem cell core factor genes in osteosarcoma. Furthermore, LIF recombinant protein-treated osteosarcoma cells displayed enhanced stem cell-like characteristics, such as increased sphere-forming potential, stimulated self-renewal, upregulated metastasis ability, and increased stemness-related gene expression. Notably, the histone 3 lysine 27 tri-methylation (H3K27me3) demethylase UTX was found as a key activator of LIF transcription in osteosarcoma. The UTX inhibitor, GSK-J4, induced H3K27me3 accumulation and impaired histone 3 lysine 27 acetylation (H3K27ac) at LIF gene locus, leading to LIF signaling pathway inhibition. GSK-J4 treatment resulted in profound defects in stem cell-like characteristics and stemness-related gene activation in osteosarcoma by modulating the H3K27ac of NOTCH1 signaling pathway gene loci. The NOTCH1 inhibitor Crenigacestat (TargetMol, T3633) repressed LIF-mediated activation of the stemness-related genes in osteosarcoma patient-derived primary tissues. IMPLICATIONS: This study reveals osteosarcoma SE profiles and uncovers a distinct tumor-stemness epigenetic regulatory mechanism in which an osteosarcoma-specific SE-mediated factor, LIF, promotes osteosarcoma stemness gene activation via NOTCH1 signaling pathway.

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S7070 GSK J4 HCl (GSKJ4 HCl) GSK J4 HCl is a cell permeable prodrug of GSK J1, which is the first selective inhibitor of the H3K27 histone demethylase JMJD3 and UTX with IC50 of 60 nM in a cell-free assay and inactive against a panel of demethylases of the JMJ family. (28) (5)

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